It’s been four years since the Royal Canadian Mint embarked on its ten-coin Second World War Battlefront series of one-ounce fine silver coins. It was itself a kind of sequel to their First World War Battlefront range that had started the year before, but both ran concurrently for a while. The latest issue is another military operation in which Canadian forces bled for victory and performed with excellence – The Battle of Scheldt.
Not given the priority is should have at the time , the Allied command seeing the looming border of Germany as more important, the operation was to liberate the Dutch port town of Antwerp. Control of this vital port would open up the supply route to keep the D-Day breakout moving at full steam, so in early October, Canadian, British and Polish formations fought an entrenched Wehrmacht defence for control. It took five weeks and cost 12,873 Allied casualties (half Canadian), but the port was secured and the first convoy of supplies was unloaded on November 29, 1944.
This has been a good looking series to date, aided by the effigy of King George IV on the obverse instead of the usual Queen Elizabeth II, and this design by Canadian artist Mary McPherson is a good one. It depicts a Canadian Ojibwa soldier holding a machine gun, and in the background are elements recognisable of the campaign. A Universal Carrier, that small and ubiquitous utility vehicle sits in the background to the left, with a windmill – it doesn’t get more Dutch than that – to the right.
The whole series is shaping up to be one of the best Second World War commemorative series being issued today. With the main focus having been on the First World War centenary commemorations, many have forgotten that it’s also the 75 year commemorations of the second. We still like the Battle of Britain and the Battle of the Atlantic designs the most, but we’re sure others will prefer the soldier designs more than those depicting weapons of war. The usual maroon clamshell box inside a themed shipper makes up the presentation, and the mintage is capped at 8,500 (strangely, this series has a variable mintage). Selling for $94.95 CAD, it will be available from 6th August. A series worthy of a profile, I think.